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A Musical Life: Joe Simpson

Connor Seybert

Joe Simpson is a member of the band Circular Reference, which recently issued the record One.

“One of the most important parts of being a musician is being a good listener. I think we have the responsibility to be the type of fan and listener that you would want to be at your shows. Whenever you can pick up gear, help a band on the stage, tell them how much their music means to you, put money in the tip jar, buy a cassette, buy a CD, even just showing up … that’s what makes our music scene in Wichita great.

How I take my influences and craft it into Circular Reference is really kind of pigheaded. I take the guitar and I make a chord that has some really extreme voicings. You’re adding all the extra harmonies, notes that don’t make sense. I pound it out one chord at a time. Then comes rhythm. Then comes melody. Then comes harmony.

Drums are an essential part of making any music interesting. I don’t think there’s a good band that has a bad drummer.

I worked in a music store for about four years and what I found was that there was an extreme aversion for parents buying kids drum sets. That trickles down later in life when there are only a handful of drummers in your music scene who are willing to play what you want to play. I’d always tell them, ‘Get your kid a drum set. You’ll like that way more than a violin or a trumpet.’”

Jedd Beaudoin is host/producer of the nationally syndicated program Strange Currency. He has also served as an arts reporter, a producer of A Musical Life and a founding member of the KMUW Movie Club. As a music journalist, his work has appeared in Pop Matters, Vox, No Depression and Keyboard Magazine.